Front. Psychiatry, 16 May 2011 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00028

The neurophysiology of auditory hallucinations – a historical and contemporary review

  • 1 Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2 Rudolph Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 3 Department of Psychiatry, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

Electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography are two techniques that distinguish themselves from other neuroimaging methodologies through their ability to directly measure brain-related activity and their high temporal resolution. A large body of research has applied these techniques to study auditory hallucinations. Across a variety of approaches, the left superior temporal cortex is consistently reported to be involved in this symptom. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that a failure in corollary discharge, i.e., a neural signal originating in frontal speech areas that indicates to sensory areas that forthcoming thought is self-generated, may underlie the experience of auditory hallucinations.

Keywords: EEG, MEG, auditory hallucination, corollary discharge, superior temporal cortex, schizophrenia, psychosis

Citation: van Lutterveld R, Sommer IEC and Ford JM (2011) The neurophysiology of auditory hallucinations – a historical and contemporary review. Front. Psychiatry 2:28. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00028

Received: 11 February 2011; Paper pending published: 25 April 2011;
Accepted: 04 May 2011; Published online: 16 May 2011.

Edited by:

Anthony A. Grace, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Reviewed by:

John J. Foxe, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA
Peter Uhlhaas, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany

Copyright: © 2011 van Lutterveld, Sommer and Ford. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Remko van Lutterveld, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, B01.206, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, Netherlands. e-mail:

total views




Back to top